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Text per a la Mostra d'Art Múltiple, 1974

Text for the Multiple Art Show, 1974
Graphic work (editions), 10 sheet: 29.7 x 21 cm each

1974 was a year of social radicalisation in the struggle against the Franco regime. Salvador Puig Antich was executed on 2 March, reinforcing critical stands against a political system whose end was already in sight. That same year positions in the field of art were also clarified. Active from 1973, Grup de Treball put forward a radical review of artistic practice, a task the group pursued in the different exhibitions in which they participated.

The collective show Mostra d’Art Múltiple (Multiple Art Exhibition), presented at the Foment de les Arts Decoratives (FAD) in Barcelona, 24 October – 18 November 1974, was sponsored by Renta Catalana, a group of estate agents whose Executive Board was composed of Francoists military and judiciary. In this context, Grup de Treball presented ten typed text pages as a ‘work of art’. The text consisted of a pointed criticism of the organisation of artistic competitions, the opportunism of the intellectuals who conceived them and the selection criteria that was applied. It also called for a more detailed examination of the problems of art and artists, in so far as this was a reflection of the contemporary social situation in the country. ‘Contests and competitions are conceived as 1) a platform for the promotion and prestige of the sponsor (Renta Catalana in this case) and 2) fostering competitiveness among artists and, therefore, individualism, necessary from the point of view of the ruling classes for placing the artist in a subservient role to the ideological demands of capital.’ It was signed by Francesc Abad, Jordi Benito, Xavier Franquesa, Imma Julián, Antoni Mercader, Carles Hac Mor, Antoni Muntadas, Santi Pau, Pere Portabella, Àngels Ribé, Manuel Rovira, Carles Santos, Dorothée Selz and Francesc Torres.

This was the first text to be presented as a work of art in an open competition in Catalonia. The document was accompanied by a critical introduction referring to the events organised in parallel to the FAD competition, which consisted of discussions on cinema, theatre, art and literature, and a theatre performance. In their written presentation, Grup de Treball denounced the programme as a plagiarism of another that had been conducted in May of the same year, also in the FAD, during the exhibition Noves Tendències Artístiques (teatre, plàstica, literatura, fotografia) [New Artistic Tendencies (theatre, visual arts, literature, photography)]. Organised by the German Institute in Barcelona in conjunction with the FAD, on that occasion Grup de Treball had participated with a collective statement from various sectors of art and culture, within the lecture series accompanying the exhibition. While at the time the programme of events was understood as a continuous line of work redefining artistic practice and its place in the social fabric, in the November competition, sponsored by Renta Catalana, the programme had lost any critical intent. This was the situation denounced by Grup de Treball.

For Catalan Conceptual art, the Mostra d’Art Múltiple marked the end of a period of coexistence between different artistic positions. While certain Conceptual artists were moving towards a more material means of expression, Grup de Treball continued to develop a text-based and theoretical Conceptualism.


Technical details

Original title:
Text per a la Mostra d'Art Múltiple
Registration number:
0489
Artist:
Grup de Treball (Grup d'artistes)
Date created:
1974
Date acquired:
1997
Fonds:
MACBA Collection. Government of Catalonia long-term loan
Object type:
Graphic work (editions)
Media:
Typewrited text, pencil and ink on paper
Dimensions:
10 sheet: 29.7 x 21 cm each (height x width)
Credits:
MACBA Collection. Government of Catalonia long-term loan. National Art Collection and Gift of Victòria Combalía
Copyright:
© Grup de Treball
It has accessibility resources:
No

The MACBA Collection features Catalan, Spanish and international art and, although it includes works from the 1920s onwards, its primary focus is on the period between the 1960s and the present.

For more information on the work or the artist, please consult MACBA's Library. To request a loan of the work, please write to colleccio [at] macba.cat.

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The artist has to face the unknown with a positive mood and sink his teeth in without fear.
Eduardo Chillida